A few weeks ago our Lecturer showed us a few examples of how to use Google Docs in class with students. One could see that teachers who use this format in classes have the opportunity to engage in and create a collaborative working and learning environment.
The link I have included in this blog post is one of a presentation by Mr Tom Barret on some of the most interesting ways in which teachers can use Google Docs in class with their students.
Google Docs enables teachers to publish information in formats such as power point, word documents, and excel spreadsheets. Google Docs allows up to 50 simultaneous collaborators to work on a document at a time. This means that each of the students in class will be able to interact with this document in real time and as a group.
Google Docs facilitate teachers and students to work in a shared work-space and interact with digital information live and in real-time. Each participant can update the content of the document with their own data live.
For example students can input data on excel spreadsheets and the information they provide can then be analysed, amended, charted or explored as part of the class.
In terms of the presentation and contribution of their work students will be careful and aware of the public nature of the data they are publishing and so will understand the need and expectation of their data to be correct, accurate and reliable.
Again, the limit of 50 participants collaborating on a presentation, document or spreadsheet allows the whole class to participate in the activity as a group.
When teachers use Goggle Docs with students, the individual student becomes co-owners of the learning activity in which they are apart. I feel these tasks promote the development of collaboration and creativity among our young learners. Tasks such as homework assignments, projects, and group work take on a new dynamic and are presented as current and exciting. Most importantly from the point of the student it takes learning off the pages of the class textbook and into a format which they like to interact with.
Google Docs can also be used as an effective means of achieving an up to date method of assessment for learning. As teachers, we set learning objectives for our students and assess them on them on that basis. However, using Google Docs teachers can ask the student to rate their own learning by using an easily designed template which the student would use to comment on how they coped with the learning objectives. The teacher can also use this instrument to leave student comments on work submitted and to set targets for the students to reach.
These comments can be made private were only the student concerned along with their parents would be able to view them.
Google Docs can offer the teacher a means to utilise this from of digital interface as a positive motivational tool, as well as a up-to-date feedback system for students to maintain contact with the teacher. This will also assist the teacher when setting and meeting learning targets for the student in their class.
I feel that the Google Docs digital interface used in education has powerful potential in terms of scope and range of collaborative work projects and portfolios which can created by students, among students and for students.